Saturday, April 1, 2017
I can hear the devil's footsteps draw near.
There are those films that sort of come and go in theaters. They make a little money, some folks give it a shot, and it is a decent way to kill 80 or 90 minutes. Devil (2010) was such an example, I think. Sure enough, it is also one of those premium channel mainstays that might turn up at odd hours. It isn't all that extraordinary, really. Tak Fujimoto is the real star as his cinematography gives the film a spit and polish that certainly makes excellent use of the high-rise, emphasizing the claustrophobic confines of the elevator and the dangers of height. The use of mechanical failure and events offered as fateful, maybe supernatural in nature, build and develop the ominous possibility that on the elevator is the titular character.
My basic synopsis:
Someone jumps from a high rise landing with a loud thud upon a van and
this event sets up the plot for DEVIL about a collection of characters
who become trapped in an elevator which stops while going up. Detective
Bowden(Chris Messina)lost his wife and son to a hit and run driver(who
left a note saying he was sorry)and has recovered from nearly drinking
himself to death. He is on the case of the unusual suicide and soon
enters the high rise to try and help the trapped people in the elevator
escape. Jenny O'Hara is an older woman(she is a pickpocket), Bojana
Novakovic a lovely who blackmails wealthy men, Bokeem Woodbine a temp
security guard with a history of assault, and Geoffrey Arend is a
mattress salesman who gets on their nerves. Logan Marshall-Green enters
the high rise with a satchel(which isn't in the elevator with him) and
mentions how he served in Afghanistan, wearing the baggage of a
difficult past on his face, also trapped in the elevator. Jacob Vargas
and Matt Craven are the security guards who work in the high rise's
camera room, able to see the trapped people in the elevator, unable to
hear what they say(but these two can talk to them). Bowden joins them
along with his partner, Detective Markowitz(Joshua Peace)trying to
figure out some way to get these people out of the elevator before they
tear each other part, watching helplessly as each falls victim to
something within, as the lights go out, coming back on the reveal a
grisly murder. Is one of the group a serial killer or could the true
culprit be the devil himself?!?
I have to admit that I actually enjoyed DEVIL far more than I had
planned. I found it to be a rather exciting little thrill ride,
utilizing the claustrophobic confines of the elevator rather well. The
Christian overtones might irk the non-religious, and most of the
violence which occurs within the elevator happens in the dark, the
sound effects telling us what we need to know, the flickering lights
ominously representing impending doom. We watch as those in the
elevator bicker and fight, relations deteriorating fast as bodies start
piling up. The filmmakers, much to many's chagrin, understand that
making an entire movie inside an elevator is practically an impossible
task so they incorporate the story outside its confines, with peril
befalling several trying to uncover what was causing the lift to halt
its course. Ultimately, DEVIL and its outcome touches on themes such as
fate, forgiveness, and closure. Messina has a strong role here as does
Marshall-Green whose character is questionable. Woodbine is suspect the
entire time he's in the elevator, but DEVIL does a fair job of casting
doubt towards Novakovic, also. Messina's detective spends a great deal
of time attempting to put names with the faces of those inside the
elevator, and the mysteries of the captured cast's identities ensnared
my interest. While DEVIL is a PG-13 movie, it teeters on the edge in
regards to the rather unpleasant deaths of several in the elevator,
such as a piece of broken mirror stuck in the throat of a victim,
another's head twisted all the way around. The performances, to me,
help lift DEVIL past the rather so-so climax when the murderer is
revealed and one is allowed a reprieve, admitting to the past sin which
landed the person in the elevator to begin with.
I do remember seeing this like in early October of 2010. The 7th. It was some quiet, insignificant day in a theater with a few people, not a lot. I recall being impressed by its style and minimalist story. It doesn't try to do too much, but I do think for featuring Old Scratch, it aims small, particularly when most of the time he's out trying to cause the apocalypse. This go-around it seems the devil is focused on a troubled soldier who returned in pain, went to the booze, made a mistake of taking his eyes off the road, and hit a car that took the lives of those beloved by the chief cop of this film. The story seeks to provide redemption for a character set up to look as if he were the devil. Bait and switch.
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Dracula's Daughter ('36)
Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)
Mad Love 1935
Doctor Gogol: Did you ever hear of Galatea?
Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: Gala - who? Not wanting a statue of him, are you?
Doctor Gogol: I don't want a statue of Galatea. You see, she was a statue herself. Pygmalion formed her. Out of marble, not wax. And then she came to life in his arms.
Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [calling to his assistant] Start the motor, Henry. There's queer people on the streets of Montmartre at this time of night.
Doctor Gogol: [handing him his card] Here, a hundred francs if you deliver the statue to my house.
Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [reading card] It's a go, Dr. Go... gol. First thing in the morning.